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BLUEPOINT - East Coast

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The most common East Coast Oyster...

Bluepoints have been coasting on their name for nearly two centuries. The Bluepoint rage in New York City began in the early 1800s after delicious, robust wild oysters were found in the waters off the town of Blue Point on Long Island’s Great South Bay. As everywhere else, those oysters didn’t last long as New York City quickly devoured every last Bluepoint and called for more. More came. Though already in 1824 the Gazatteer of the State of New York was referring to Bluepoints in the past tense, by then a twenty-three-mile-long überbed of oysters had been found in the Great South Bay, baymen were multiplying like fleas, and any oyster from the Great South Bay was being sold as a Bluepoint. Today, you will see Bluepoints on every oyster menu in Manhattan, and quite a few elsewhere, because many people believe they want Bluepoints and nothing but. The oysters themselves are seeded on the bottom of Long Island Sound, both the Oyster Bay area of Long Island and the Norwalk area of Connecticut, dredged up a few years later, and have an extremely mild taste. 

*Yes, Blue Points, that most abused of oyster appellations. But not just any Blue Points. After a century of exile, real Blue Points are once again growing in their ancestral home—Long Island’s Great South Bay. Thank Chris Quartuccio, who used to make his living diving for wild oysters in Long Island Sound. A huge set of wild oysters in the sound in the mid-90s led to record harvests—Quartuccio once collected 2,300 oysters in ninety minutes. These oysters were, fairly enough, sold as Blue Points, and they can be pretty good. The largest source of Long Island Sound Blue Points–Connecticut’s legendary Tallmadge Brothers, run by the Bloom family–has been supplying reliably briny Blue Points for years. But the name has been undercut by boring and bland “New Jersey Bluepoints,” “Virginia Bluepoints,” and other pretenders. Recently, Quartuccio decided to restore the Blue Point to greatness. He purchased a unique facility near the Fire Island inlet in Great South Bay—a one-hundred-foot, free-standing dock built right into the bay, with a chipper-looking cottage right on top. The oysters grow in trays around the dock and deliver the full-salt assault that made Blue Points famous in the 1820s, along with fascinating pine and anise notes most apparent in spring. Delivered straight to Manhattan restaurants, or direct to your house, they are the genuine article.

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BARRON POINT - West Coast

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Location: Little Skookum Inlet, WA

Size: Medium

Flavor Profile: Musky, low salinity, low brininess, sweet flavor

Notes: These oysters are started in bags and then strewn across the beach to mature. The constant pounding and tumbling on the wavesforces their shells to harden, making them easy for shuckers to open.

http://www.oysterguide.com/maps/hood-canal-and-southern-puget-sound/barron-point/

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Rack and Bag Cultivation Method

Rack & Bag Cultured Oysters

Rack & Bag cultured oysters (also called On Bottom Cages) are grown in mesh cages or bags which are generally staked about one to two feet off the bottom.  Oysters raised by the rack & bag method are protected from predators and do not become cramped for space as they grow.  They also do not have to filter as much sand & mud in order to get nutrients, thus they grow faster.  They develop a deeper cup than beach cultured oysters.  However, if the oyster is raised entirely this way then they are pampered and their shells are brittle which makes them difficult to shuck without breaking.  Examples of rack & bag cultured oysters include: Chelsea Gem, Hawk's Point, and Jorstad.



More info: http://www.chefs-resources.com/Oyster-Farming-Methods#Rack & Bag#ixzz3Ib4IrenX

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Longline Cultured Oysters

Longline Cultured Oysters

Longline culture is a variation of off bottom culture where long ropes with seedling oysters attached are suspended.  This suspension method is usually done horizontally and staked about one to two feet above the bottom in an intertidal region.  But sometimes the lines are suspended vertically in deep water.  Longline cultured oysters have a sturdier shell and firmer meats than suspension tray raised oysters because the longline does allow for more interaction with the environment and requires more tenacity for the oyster to remain attached to the line whereas cage oysters simply sit there.  Examples of longline cultured oysters include: Shigoku



More info: http://www.chefs-resources.com/Oyster-Farming-Methods#Rack & Bag#ixzz3Ib4Rk6gx

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Bottom or Beach Cultured Oysters

Bottom or Beach Cultured Oysters

Beach/Bottom Cultured Oysters, also called Intertidal Cultured Oysters, are oysters which are raised on tidal beaches with sandy or rocky bottoms.  These oysters are accustomed  to fighting the tides, clamping tightly shut during low tides to preserve their “liquor” and to protect themselves against predators.  Because of this “tough” life, beach raised oysters are hearty.  They have hard, sturdy shells which shuckers like to work with.  And their ability to close tightly, coupled with their hard shells, gives them a longer shelf life.  Examples of beach cultured oysters include: Bald Point, Dosewallips, Fanny Bay, Marrowstone, and Totten Virginica.



More info: http://www.chefs-resources.com/Oyster-Farming-Methods#Rack & Bag#ixzz3Ib4eCM1m

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Suspended Tray Cultured Oysters

Suspended Tray Cultured Oysters

Oysters which are cultivated by the  suspension method are the prima donnas of oyster.  They are suspended, in mesh trays or a Japanese lantern shaped nets, in deep water their entire lives, protected from predators, mud, sand and silt.  They have beautiful shells with deep cups, but they are an oyster shucker’s nightmare because their shells are brittle since they never had to fight for survival.  Because of their brittle shell, it is best to use the Chesapeake Oyster Shucking Style, going in through the lip.  Using the traditional Hinge Oyster Shucking Style on brittle shelled (new shell) oysters tends to result in breaking the shell of suspension cultivated oysters.  The oyster flavor profile of suspended oysters tends to be clean, sweet & light, with meats which are tender.  Examples of suspension tray cultured oysters include: Chef's Creek, Emerald Cove, Pearl Bay, Sinku, and Snow Creek.



More info: http://www.chefs-resources.com/Oyster-Farming-Methods#Rack & Bag#ixzz3Ib4sO934

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Bag to Beach Cultured Oysters

Bag to Beach Cultured Oysters

Oysters raised by the bag to beach method combine two oyster farming methods.  Rack & bag oysters are taken from their pampered environment and put into the beach culture environment during their last 6 months before harvesting.  This allows them to "toughen up" a bit, giving them stronger, less brittle shells and firmer meats.  Examples of bag to beach cultured oysters include: Barron Point, Hammersley, and Little Skookum.



More info: http://www.chefs-resources.com/Oyster-Farming-Methods#Rack & Bag#ixzz3Ib53TM00

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Kaluga Caviar

Tsar Imperial Kaluga Caviar

Born of the Huso Dauricus Sturgeon, the glossy medium-to-dark-gray grains shimmer with glorious golden highlights. Truly spectacular in size, these marvelous beads - also known as "Amur Beluga" have a mellow, rich, buttery flavor.

 

 

 

 

The kaluga (Huso dauricus) is a large predatory sturgeon found in the Amur River basin. Also known as the river beluga, they are claimed to be the largest freshwater fish in the world, with a maximum size of at least 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) and 5.6 m (18.6 ft). Local fishermen have suggested that the kaluga can grow well up to 20 ft in length and can weigh around 1,500 kg. The kaluga is one of the biggest of the sturgeon family. Like the slightly larger beluga, it spends part of its life in salt water. Unlike the beluga, this fish has 5 major rows of dermal scutes, nail-like teeth, in its jaws and feeds on salmon and other fish in the Amur by hunting them. They have gray-green to black backs with a yellowish green-white underbelly.

The kaluga has been hunted to near extinction for its valuable roe. Despite constant anti-poaching patrols, poachers still continue to catch the fish. Fishing for kaluga anywhere in the Amur River is an offense punishable by law. However, kalugas are known to have an aggressive nature, and instances of them toppling fishing boats and drowning fishermen have been reported, although no concrete evidence exists of them assaulting or hunting people.

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Beluga Hybrid Caviar

From Russia / China

 

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Caviar refers to the salted eggs or roe of the sturgeon Acipenser. Caviar is derived from the Persian word Khaviar, which means "bearing eggs." Roe from other species such as salmon, paddlefish, whitefish, and lumpfish must be labeled with the name of the fish in front of the word caviar. If the word caviar appears by itself on the label it must by law come from a sturgeon. Today, caviar primarily comes from the following species: Adriatic sturgeon, beluga sturgeon, European sturgeon, kaluga sturgeon, Pacific or white sturgeon, Persian sturgeon, Russian sturgeon, Siberian sturgeon, starlet sturgeon and stellate sturgeon. The term “caviar” is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to roe from other fish species. “Caviar” is only correct and accurate when it refers to the roe from sturgeon.

Beluga Caviar 
Obtained from the Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), native to the Caspian, Black, Azov, and Adriatic Sea basins, the Beluga is the largest sturgeon, which produces the largest and softest roe. Beluga is the world's most expensive caviar.

Osetra Caviar 
Obtained from the Russian-Persian or Kura sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedti and Acipenser persicus), Osetra has a golden to dark brown color variation. Its strong nutty flavor has an intense but mild taste.

Sevruga Caviar 
Obtained from the Star sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus), also native of the Caspian Sea. It produces caviar with a fine, strong-grain sea taste.

White Sturgeon Caviar 
Obtained from the Pacific or white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). This sustainable caviar is likened to the best Osetra. It ranges from the dark, small beads of the Classic to the large, buttery golden Imperial.

Kaluga Caviar 
Obtained from the Kaluga sturgeon (Huso daricus), originally from the Amur River basin in China. Kaluga is a very good quality farmed caviar with large light brown, soft and buttery beads which are often compared to beluga.

Naccarii Caviar 
Obtained from the Adriatic or Italian sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) and is a caviar which is starting to be introduced in the market. Historically this sturgeon has been present in Mediterranean Europe and is being farmed both in Spain and Italy.

Baeri Caviar 
Obtained form sturgeon species originally from Siberia (Acipenser baeri), and is the most farmed species in France in the Aquitaine Basin. Its small grains are dark and have a soft, nutty flavor.

Schrencki Caviar 
Obtained from the Schrenki sturgeon (Acipenser schrencki), is native from the Amur River, and farmed in China. It produces an extraordinary caviar, with medium grains and golden color.

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Tsar Imperial Shassetra Caviar

 

Farm-raised Acipenser Schrencki sturgeon produce these firm, medium-size beads: light -to-dark-golden in color.  Place a dollop on the tongue, press against the palate and experience a powerful burst of briny flavor that hints of dried fruit and toasted grains.